Archive | August 27, 2013

Alton Central School (ACS) ‘Back To School Night’ On August 26: I Was Pretty Impressed. Some Dedicated Staff.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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This along with both verbal and written offers saying that he will happily work with kids needing additional help on Saturday or Sunday mornings is pretty impressive. Pretty amazing. Kudos.

This along with both verbal and written offers saying that he will happily work with kids needing additional help on Saturday or Sunday mornings is pretty impressive. Pretty amazing. Kudos.


With possibly one small exception, and ‘small‘ here is THE keyword, I really haven’t had any issues with the teaching staff at Alton Central. In general I find them to be a great bunch and we have been lucky to have had some very exceptional teachers for both Devanee and Teischan.

Yesterday’s ‘Back to School Night’ just confirmed my long held (since 2007 when Devanee started attending ACS) beliefs that we have some wonderful teachers at ACS. I feel bad about the ‘politics’, much of it having to do with The Board, that must drive them to distraction. Yes, it would be nice if they had a better, newer school BUT I was kind of surprised to see how well the Middle School was equipped and how BIG Teischan’s 2nd Grade classroom was. I went to school in a 3rd world, dirt poor country. There were 60 kids per class and our classrooms were 1/4 of the size of Teischan’s room for 19 or 20 kids. We managed and I did get one heck of an education!

Teischan has a teacher that was Devanee’s teacher 6 years ago. So we know her, we like her and she knows us. So that was good. We are happy.

Devanee is back at ACS after a 18 month hiatus after we took her out in February 2012 because of bullying. I am still not 100% happy that she is back at ACS. I worry. But trying to homeschool her was very stressful for Deanna though Devanee did do quite well with homeschooling.

All of the Middle School and the teachers there were new to me. I really had had no exposure to them. We spoke to 4 of them and I was very favorably impressed and grateful. Some very committed, dedicated and talented folks here. That is good. I heard Mr. LaFreniere tell another parent, while we were in line, that he would come in on a Saturday morning if a kid needed additional help. My ears pricked up. That is dedication beyond the call of duty. Then this morning Deanna woke me up, just after a 8 (and as such 20 – 30 minutes ahead of my normal wakey-wakey time) saying ‘Have you seen this … Mr. LaFreniere has given out his cell phone number?’. Neat. This is all good. I am glad. Mr. Brown the Social Studies teacher actually knew some place names from Sri Lanka. I was delighted. [Not many folks in NH know where Sri Lanka is, let alone know of any place names.] This is all good.

Deanna and I, individually and together, spoke with Mikel LaChapell, the Assistant Principal. This is the first time I have really had a chat with him. We had a good discussion about bullying and school safety. he now knows where we are coming from. If Devanee experiences any bullying this time around we will not pussyfoot around. I think everybody kind of knows that. 

So, that is where we are at. We were impressed. We were happy. Lets hope we can have an uneventful year at school — though I already know, because of a phone call we got from a prominent Alton businessman this morning, that the fireworks at the Board Meeting will continue. What fun. But, thankfully, none of the issues should impinge on the teachers — other than the ‘Common Core’ tussle, but the school is at ‘Rotate’ for the 2013-2014 school year. So that cannot be changed. [‘Rotate’ is the aeronautical term used by pilots during takeoff. At ‘rotate’ you are committed to the takeoff. You can’t change your mind. You have to get the wheels off the ground even if you are going to be crashing!]

Alton Central School (ACS) Notifications Again Fall Short Of Deanna’s Hopes & Expectations.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Click to ENLARGE. From ACS Facebook page.

Click to ENLARGE. From ACS Facebook page.


We were at the ‘Back to School’ night, last night. We met and spoke with Mrs. Leggett, Bill Lander, the Asst. Principal et. al. They NEVER mentioned this.

Would it have been that hard to have a poster up or make a PA announcement?

Well, they managed to get Deanna mad.

Today, August 27, Marks 46th Anniversary Of Me Leaving Ceylon; 39th Of Me Joining IBM U.K. (Hursley), My Very First Job.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


December 1967 in Buffalo. My mother decorating a cake. This was her forte. I couldn't find any pictures from August 1967.

December 1967 in Buffalo. My mother decorating a cake. This was her forte. I couldn’t find any pictures from August 1967.


August 27 has been an important landmark for much of my life.

That was the day in 1967 when I left Ceylon, basically for good, a week ahead of my 14th birthday. It sure changed my life though I am never sure whether it was for the better. IF I had had a choice I would have stayed in Ceylon and taken my lumps along the way. My cousins who knew me quite well reckon that I would have been shot very early on during the Civil War that started c. 1980 given that they know of my propensity to say my piece and be passionate about causes. I kind of think that they are right. I know that if I had stayed in Ceylon I would have got involved in politics.

I still remember the day we left. Actually it was night. Around 9pm local time, I think. I remember the Airport well. About 200 people came to see us off. I remember the plane. It was a Boeing 707 — still one of my favorite planes. I think it has ageless beauty. I think we flew TWA or PanAm. I have a TWA poster for a 707, from that era, hanging above my desk — even as I write.

Seven years later, on August 27, 1974, a Tuesday, the day after a Bank Holiday Monday in the UK, was my first work day at IBM U.K. Research Lab at Hursley — then IBM’s largest research lab. outside of the U.S.

I had signed up to start work on Monday, August 26, 1974. I did not know when it was a Bank Holiday when I sent a letter from Bangkok, Thailand, in July of that year, to a Ms. McKragen, Head of Personnel, Hursley, saying that I will start that day. I had been communicating with her off and on for 2 years — that being when IBM made me an unconditional job offer, when I was 19, that I would have a job at Hursley whenever I wanted it, degree or no degree — and all that I had to do was contact Ms. McKragen and tell her I was ready to join. That was a nice insurance policy to have in your back pocket when you were a totally WILD, totally hedonistic teenager living the life of Riley in College with no regard for the next day — let alone the future.

I wanted to be a game warden in Africa, though I was doing my degree in Computer Technology. After my offer from IBM I spent a whole year writing letters to various Game Parks in Africa looking for employment. Never got a single bite. Then I didn’t want to work for a capitalist American company! I hadn’t cut my hair in 2 years and was a quintessential no-drugs, but plenty of free love hippy. A British company, Sicon, offered me a very attractive job but they wanted me to spend a year in Bahrain installing a computer system at an hospital. Going to Bahrain, in 1974, did not appeal. I wanted to work for ICL — a British company, especially since I was already an expert on ICL systems (which is why IBM offered me this job in my 2nd year at Uni). ICL invited me for a weekend overnight recruiting camp at a very posh and nice country estate. I checked in on Friday night and then as was my wont those days, when I really was wild, took off the next day, with some girls I met at the event, to a very posh local pub, on the Thames, called ‘The Bell’. I still remember that, because I used to go back to that pub if I was within 15 miles of it. Suffice to say none of us got job offers from ICL since we missed most of Saturday. But, I had IBM’s job offer in my back pocket.

Then in June I went to Bangkok. Some of you will put two and two together. July – August 1974. The last days of Vietnam. American troops and support staff were pouring into Bangkok. I was living in a gated apartment complex with a lot of ‘service’ Americans. So exciting times. It was then that I sent my ‘can I start on August 26, 1974’ letter to Ms. McKragen — it being a Monday. She, a delightful lady, with a great sense of humor, sent me a letter back. This was before e-mail — though I first used e-mail, at IBM, to talk with some fellow IBMers in Japan, in 1976. She told me that Monday, August 26, was a Holiday but it certainly could be my official start date, but she would see me on Tuesday. Tuesday was august 27. What a coincidence.

So, August 27 is always special.

I Just Love How Sri Lankan Cartoonist Depict Their Fellow Countrymen — I Being One Of Them.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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I don’t follow Sri Lankan news, happenings or politics, so I have NO IDEA what this is all about. No idea who the lady is. It is NOT Aunty Bandaranayake.

Just cracks me up how they depict us. I used to be the guy with the fat belly on the right. Now I relate to the guy on the left BUT with 50 years more of aging.

Not sure where the frilled, supposedly coconut, skirts came in. Never seen Sri Lankan men wear anything like that. For that not even the females. Seems more Polynesian. But, I like it. All I can say is that the guy on the right MUST be wearing a very tight dhoti — otherwise something bown would definitely be sticking out from among the fronds.

Click to ENLARGE. Copyright as stated.

Click to ENLARGE. Copyright as stated.

I got this in my e-mail this morning from a Sri Lankan that I do not know.

I get e-mails like this from a variety of Sri Lankans who I do not know. I glance at them. Most of the time I have no idea, as with this, as to what it is all about. Yes, some lady is visiting Sri Lanka and they are not happy about it because of what she has said in the past. That is about all I have pieced together. No time, no interest to find out more.

The Featured Pipe Band At NH Highland Games 2013 Will Be A Subset Of The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Band.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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We will be boycotting 2013 Games — Aug. 9, 2013.
>> NH Highland Games 2012: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
>>— Sep. 23, 2012.

>> NH Highland Games 2012: The Report Card
>>— Sep. 23, 2012.

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Though we have decided that we will not attend this year, after 14 years, I was still curious who the featured pipe band will be this year, i.e., 2013. Last year it was the ‘Carnegie Mellon University Pipes & Drums’ who proved to be very pleasing.

I called them, i.e., NHScots, to find out the information. The featured band for 2013 is a subset, i.e., mini-band, of the ‘Royal Canadian Mounted Police Pipes, Drums & Dancers: National Capital Region‘. They are no strangers to the Games. We have seen them. They were there last year or year before. They are fun.

Confirmation of 'mini-band' from THEIR Website. Click to ENLARGE.

Confirmation of ‘mini-band’ from THEIR Website. Click to ENLARGE.

I think it is a volunteer band with non-RCMP members as well.

I cannot find their grade. Last year we were given a list of the participating bands and their grades. I cannot find a similar list this year. I also did a cursory Web search. Nothing.

Doesn’t matter. They will entertain.

I just miss the professional, service bands from the Motherland as was the case when I first started going to the Games in the late 1990s.

A RCMP Band, possibly another region, from Wikipedia.

Why Doesn’t McDonald’s Also Use These Handwashing Monitoring Bracelets.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. McDonald’s Alton Employees Not Washing Hands — Aug. 7, 2013.
2. State To Look Into Alton McDonald’s Handwashing — Aug. 8, 2013.
3. Biometric Bracelet & ‘Common Core’ — May 12, 2013.


Click to access article in 'gizmag.com'

Click to access article in ‘gizmag.com’


Seems like such a brilliant idea. Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) — a technology that I am very fond of. I even suggested that they use it in Keene for their famed Pumpkin Festival to accurately and instantaneously count the jack o’lanterns.

Yes, there will be a cost. But, McDonald’s and other fast food joints should really look into this to avoid what we encountered at the Alton McDonald’s earlier this month.

I saw this in a magazine earlier today and knew that I had to share it. Check it out.

Maybe we should use this with ‘Common Core’ rather than the infamous biometric bracelet. I am sure they can be made in lots of cool colors.

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